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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Jack Ashby




Crotchet
Midprice


More Finest Vintage Jazz

24 Original Mono Recordings 1918-1940

Living Era CD AJA 5151

 

 

 

  1. Tiger Rag – Original Dixieland Jass Band
  2. Dippermouth Blues – King Oliver
  3. Careless Love Blues – Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong
  4. Black Bottom Stomp – Jelly Roll Morton
  5. Stringin’ the Blues – Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang
  6. That’s No Bargain – Red Nicholls
  7. I’m Coming, Virginia – Bix Beiderbecke
  8. Black & Tan Fantasy – Duke Ellington
  9. West End Blues – Louis Armstrong
  10. My Monday Date – Jimmy Noone
  11. Miss Hannah – Don Redman
  12. You Rascal You – Jack Teagarden
  13. King Porter Stomp – Benny Goodman
  14. Netcha’s Dream – Coleman Hawkins
  15. My Blue Heaven – Jimmy Lunceford
  16. Boogie Woogie Stomp – Albert Ammons
  17. Christopher Columbus - Fletcher Henderson
  18. This year’s Kisses – Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson
  19. Gone With The Wind – Art Tatum
  20. Ring Dem Bells – Lionel Hampton
  21. Honeysuckle Rose – Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli
  22. Texas Shuffle – Count Basie
  23. Four or Five Times –Bechet-Spanier Big Four
  24. Cottontail – Duke Ellington.

In the 22 years covered by this album, jazz developed very quickly from the early white beginnings of the ODJB and the more authentic black music of King Oliver. The third track has Bessie Smith, who to some ‘traddies’ is the only true blues singer, featured with Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson. The Black Bottom Stomp already had a more arranged style and Jelly Roll Morton, who claimed to have invented jazz, and his band have a very spirited version here.

Stringin’ the Blues is a new version to me and I very much enjoyed the Venuti/Lang combination on this one. The Red Nicholls track has Jimmy Dorsey on alto and clarinet and Bix’s very easily identifiable style is heard to good effect on I'm Coming Virginia.

The 1927 version of the Black and Tan Fantasy features Jabbo Smith growling away on trumpet and the unique Tricky Sam Nanton on Trombone with the Ellington Band. West End Blues is classic Armstrong Hot Five stuff; the intro to this piece has been the downfall of many imitators! Monday Date is given very pleasing treatment by the Jimmy Noone group and there is a fine piano chorus from Earl Hines on piano.

The sleeve note gives credit to McKinney’s Cotton Pickers for Miss Hannah, but the back of the sleeve gives all credit to Don Redman, after all he was the MD. He also provides the vocal as well as playing lead alto on this one. Coleman Hawkins is also present, but I don’t think he was the soloist on this one from 1929. The next track features the amazing Jack Teagarden, who must be given a lot of credit for changing the role of the trombone in jazz outfits from means of rhythmic propulsion, to solo instrument.

The next track moves us on to 1935 and the start of the swing era; Bunny Berigan is featured with the Goodman band, which also included Gene Krupa at the drums and Arthur Rollini on tenor. As you would expect from Goodman a polished big band performance. Netch’a dream features Coleman Hawkins on tenor and even at this stage, the big sound for which he was famous was much in evidence. Polished big band stuff again on My Blue Heaven from the Jimmie Lunceford Band, which included Sy Oliver who wrote the arrangement, Willie Smith on Lead alto and Eddie Durham on trombone. Albert Ammons was the king of Boogie Woogie and his performance on Boogie Woogie Stomp is a classic of the genre, I suspect Boogie Woogie is the intro. point into jazz for many young people.

The 1936 Christopher Columbus from Fletcher Henderson is another big band classic, Roy Eldridge plays his usual exciting trumpet and Chu berry is featured on tenor. Buster Bailey leads the saxes and the band is very neat and precise. It was good to hear Lester Young playing the intro to This Years Kisses with Teddy Wilson’s band that included Benny Goodman. The vocalist is of course Lady Day although she only sings one chorus.

Art Tatum had a tremendous influence on all the pianists who followed him, he really changed the way everyone played jazz piano, his performance of Gone With the Wind is easily worth the price of the album. Similarly Lionel Hampton who started his career as a drummer, introduced the vibraphone into jazz, on Ring Dem Bells he is heard with an all star combo that includes Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Jess Stacey and Sonny Greer.

The Hot Club of France are heard on Honeysuckle Rose playing the kind of timeless music that Stephane Grappelli continued to play up to his death in 1997. Texas Shuffle is the 1938 version of the Basie band with Buck Clayton, Harry Edison and Dickie Wells, as well as Herschel Evans and Lester Young.

The Bechet Spanier Band of 1940 was a bit of a throw back to earlier times, but it is very pleasant and there is obviously a good rapport between the joint leaders. The last track is the 1940 version of Cottontail from the Duke featuring the superb tenor playing of Ben Webster. Ben was one of the real giants of jazz and the Ellington Band was on great form on this recording, the ensemble playing is superb and the sax soli sublime.

There has been a lot of these type of CD’s on the market lately, but this one justifies it’s name Finest Vintage Jazz and Ray Crick must be congratulated on it’s compilation.

 

Don Mather

 



 



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